This year was my first time going to Book Expo America, a three-day event for book industry professionals to meet up, market new books, and discuss the ever-changing industry. Publishers set up booths displaying their newest books and hottest reads, authors do signings and panels, and there are giveaways all around! This year, they tried something new and made the last day of the event into BookCon–a more convention-style day that was open to the public, not just industry professionals. I went to all three days, from Thursday to Saturday. I found that each day was progressively more hectic, meanwhile I was getting progressively more worn down. Here’s my breakdown of each day of the event:
Thursday, the first day, was my favorite day of BEA. Despite having only gotten a couple hours of sleep the night before, my excitement and the novelty of the experience were enough to fuel my enthusiasm and sustain me throughout the very long day. I started the day off well by getting a lovely smile from Neil Patrick Harris. I was very selective in my choice of books, and managed to end the day with a reasonable number of new reads that I was genuinely interested in and actually intended to read.
Friday was a bit less fulfilling. I felt like I spent the day alternately sprinting and sitting. For some reason, I felt more pressure to grab a lot of books, and was therefore less selective with my pickings. Everything I wanted to do was at the same time, so I missed out on getting a lot of the books that I actually wanted. I sat on long lines and sometimes bailed out near the end because I was afraid of missing the next thing on my list. I went to a couple of panels about the publishing industry, which were interesting, but I was also distinctly aware of the fact that I was missing out on opportunities to get books while I was sitting there. I finished the day off on a positive note by getting a handshake and signed book by Scott Westerfeld. At the end of the day, I came out with the same number of books as the first day, but a lot of them were things I’d never heard of and had no idea whether they’d be good.
Saturday was chaos. The last day of Book Expo was also called BookCon and was the only day open to the public. This meant that the crowds doubled and there were a lot more people trying to get to all the books. I spent pretty much the entire day sitting in really long lines for everything that I wanted to get to. But most of the waits were worth it! I talked to Holly Black, stepped on Maggie Steifvater’s foot, and sat in on some really great panels. I think I came out with far fewer books on Saturday than on the other two days. Overall, it was an amazing experience, but by the end of the third day, I was definitely exhausted.